Mumbai: As the saying goes there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government has not yet given up fully the development of a Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery project as the state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has identified a new site in the Barsu Govar Solgaon industrial estate in Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri district.
Nearly 11,000 acres of land from these and adjoining villages proposed by the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (RRPL) promoted by Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporationis being explored for the refinery project. The entire land can be used for the refinery while the crude oil terminal can come up at Nate or Vijaydurg.
A senior industry department officer told Free Press Journal, ‘’The department is looking at a suitable land which has no rehabilitation issue and it is totally barren and technically feasible for the project.’’
When contacted, the RRPL officer preferred not to comment.
Interestingly, the coordination committee formed by the villagers from Barsu Govar and Solgaon has recently communicated to the industry department that they want the project to come up as the agricultural land will not be needed but barren land can be used for the refinery development.
The industry department’s move is important especially when the BJP-led government in March 2019 withdrew the notification earmarking Nanar plateau land in Rajapur taluka for the refinery project after strong objection by its ruling ally Shiv Sena. Thereafter, the industry department has launched a massive exercise to identify lands in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts.
According to the industry department officer, the land within and outside the proposed Barsu Govar Solgaon industrial estate is not under cultivation. In addition, nobody will be displaced due to land acquisition and no major or artillery roads will be disturbed following the development of the mega refinery.
Incidentally, Shiv Sena’s ruling allies NCP and Congress as well as opposition BJP and MNS are in favour of the refinery development in the state and not go to Gujarat. The ball is in Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s court as he has repeatedly said the Shiv Sena will remain with the local population.